#5 (THE "INVITATION FROM GOD" SERIES)
"COME AND DINE!"
TEXT: John 21:1-23
INTRO: Have you ever had a rough day or even a rough week -- and you have failed miserably on the job or even at home? You come home and feel tired and weak; you are not exactly good company. At such times you get a phone call and a friend invites you to a meal to relax and refresh yourself it can be so wonderful!
This is what the Lord does in this invitation ... it is just after the crucifixion of Jesus, the guys are kind of discouraged and some like Peter have horrible feelings of failure they haven't fully dealt with yet. They have pulled back spiritually, with feelings of personal failure, and even a group failure, and shattered dreams and expectations.
Peter denied Jesus 3 times, the rest ran away from the cross except John, Judas committed suicide, nothing worked out like they had expected. No great kingdom came. They are discouraged, weak, feel like failures, and they are probably fostering anger and doubts.
In the midst of this Jesus appears and offers an invitation: "Come and dine" (KJV)
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that Jesus offers us a place of refreshing when we have failed or are fearful, His love is so great for us that He seeks to renew us, all we have to do is accept the invitation!
I. DRIFTING AND FAILING 21:1-5
A. Frustrated 21:1-3
1. We are introduced to a rag tag group of 7 guys who are totally discouraged and feeling aimless.
a. Their hopes and dreams are dashed, they are uncertain as to what has recently happened to them.
b. They couldn't come up with answers for all the horrible things that had taken place, and even if they did have any ideas they were dealing with their own feelings of failure and running away from Jesus, lots of guilt here!
2. This becomes evident in Peter's statement in verse 3 "I'm going out to fish!"
a. It is stated sort of matter of fact, like there is nothing else to do – or nothing else he wants to do!
b. An expanded version of this verse expresses it this way: "I'm going off, breaking my former connections (kingdom work stuff), to do my former fishing business."
c. He was turning back to his old
occupation, trying to forget the years spent working for the
d. The rest of the guys agree to go along to fish with him, they had nothing better to do either!
3. Together they go and experience even more failure! They catch nothing all night!
a. Things were not at all like they
expected them to be in the
b. Their level of trust in what they believed was in serious disrepair!
ILLUS: THEY WERE LIKE THE OLD MAN WHO WAS CELEBRATING HIS 75 BIRTHDAY AND AN AVIATION ENTHUSIAST WANTED TO GET HIM TO FLY IN A PLANE FOR THE FIRST TIME BY OFFERING TO TAKE HIM UP IN THE AIR IN HIS PLANE. THE OLD MAN HAD LIVED HIS WHOLE IN LIFE IN WEST VIRGINIA AND DIDN'T TRUST IN MODERN CONTRAPTIONS. HOWEVER, SURPRISINGLY ENOUGH THE OLD MAN ACCEPTED THE INVITATION. WHEN THE FLIGHT WAS OVER HIS FRIEND ASKED HIM, "WELL, WERE YOU SCARED?" HE ANSWERED, "NOOOO, BUT I NEVER DID PUT MY FULL WEIGHT DOWN ON THE FLOOR OF THAT PLANE JUST TO BE SURE!" HE WAS WILLING TO BE ON BOARD, BUT NOT NECESSARILY TRUST FULLY, ALTHOUGH IT REALLY DIDN'T MATTER HOW HE THOUGHT HE WAS DOING! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
B. Failure! 21:4-5
1. Though they were in a defeated attitude Jesus sees their need and comes to meet them!
a. The Lord knows when we have failed, and He is concerned about how we are doing!
b. They needed restoration, so Jesus makes an appearance to minister to them!
2. Their present failure to catch fish however only added to their sense of previous failure so that they didn't even notice it was Jesus, they weren't even looking anymore for the Lord!
a. They couldn't even see Jesus when He was standing right in front of them! They were only looking at their own sense of failure and disappointments!
ILLUS: WHEN LIONARDO DA VINCI HAD FINISHED PAINTING "THE LAST SUPPER" HE INVITED A FRIEND TO VIEW IT. HIS FRIEND TOOK A LOOK AT THE PAINTING AND THE "OOHS AND AHS" RESULTED. THE FRIEND WAS SO ENAMORED BY THE CUP IN THE PAINTING THAT HE SEEMED TO BE OBLIVIOUS TO ANYTHING ELSE IN THE PAINTING. LEONARDO NOTICED THIS AND SUDDENLY GRABBED HIS PAINT BRUSH AND DIPPED IT INTO A GLOB OF PAINT AND QUICKLY REACHED OVER AND IN ONE STROKE BLOTTED THE CUP OUT TO THE ASTONISHIMENT AND REBUKE OF HIS FRIEND! TO HIS FRIEND LEONARDO THEN EXCLAIMED, "FOOL, LOOK AT THE MASTER'S FACE!"... NOT THE CUP! IT WAS ONLY JESUS HE WAS SUPPOSED TO TAKE CAREFUL NOTICE OF. HIS FRIEND HAD MISSED THIS, SO THE CUP WOULD HAVE TO GO. ANYTHING ELSE THAT DREW ATTENTION AWAY FROM JESUS FIRST WOULD NOT DO! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
b. They were too focused on their own failures and loss of dreams to even notice it was Jesus who had come to refresh them!
3. Failure can hold us in a grip that can distort our whole perspective about God and others ... even ourselves!
a. Jesus wasn't through with them; thank God He doesn't just cast us away every time we fail!
b. They needed a visit from the Lord even when they didn't recognize it was the Lord!
c. They were just drifting and failing -- it was time to get them back on course!
II. DINING AND FELLOWSHIP 21:6-14
A. Favored! 21:6-9
1. In their minds they must have assumed they had lost favor with Jesus, so it was back to their previous occupation!
2. However, Jesus loves us more than we give Him credit for, it is hard to lose the favor of God!
3. Rather than send a storm to sink their ship and drown them for the way they had abandoned Him during the crucifixion He instead sits down and prepares for them a relaxing refreshing meal, a time of fellowship with just them!
a. Jesus loves these guys and nothing was more important than restoring them! And, this is true with us too!
ILLUS: A MAN IN NEW JERSEY HAD A DIFFICULT RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS NEIGHBOR. HE HAD CHICKENS THAT HE LET RUN LOOSE AND THEY OFTEN GOT INTO HIS NEIGHBOR'S YARD AND GARDEN AND MADE A MESS OF THINGS. HE HAD CLIPPED THEIR WINGS SO THEY COULDN'T FLY BUT THEY STILL MANAGED TO GET AROUND. ONE DAY HE CAME HOME AND FOUND SEVERAL DEAD CHICKENS STREWN AROUND ON HIS YARD ... AND DISCOVERED THAT HIS ANGRY NEIGHBOR HAD COME INTO HIS YARD AND KILLED SEVERAL TO MAKE HIS POINT! AT ONCE HE DECIDED TO GET REVENGE ON HIS NEIGHBOR, OR TO SUE HIM OR SOMETHING. AS HE WENT TO HIS NEIGHBOR'S YARD HOWEVER HE FOUND HIM IN HIS GARDEN CHASING ONE OF CHICKENS WHICH HAD DAMAGED SEVERAL PLANTS, SUDDENLY COMPASSION FOR HIS NEIGHBOR HIT HIS HEART AND INSTEAD OF MAKING AN ENEMY OUT OF HIM HE DECIDED TO TRY ANOTHER ROUTE. HE WENT UP TO HIS NEIGHBOR AND BEGAN TO APOLOGIZE AND MADE AN OFFER TO PAY THE MAN 6 TIMES THE DAMAGE FOR ALL THAT HIS CHICKENS HAD DONE. THIS SO CAUGHT THE NEIGHBOR OFF GUARD THAT HE LOOKED CONFOUNDED BY THIS OFFER. HE WENT ON TO STATE THAT HE WOULD RATHER PAY HIM A GREAT DEAL OF MONEY FOR THE MESS HIS CHICKENS MADE THAN TO LOSE THE GOODWILL OF A NEIGHBOR AND FRIEND, IMMEDIATELY THE ANGER IN HIS NEIGHBOR SUBSIDED AND HE SAID, "I AM A GREAT FOOL, THE DAMAGE IS NOT THAT GREAT, I NEED ALSO TO ASK YOUR FORGIVENESS FOR MY ANGRY OUTBURST AND KILLING YOUR HENS.” A SOFT ANSWER TURNETH AWAY WRATH! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
b. Notice Jesus' greeting to them: "Friends, haven't you any fish?" (Note: in the Greek this question was put by Jesus in a way that He already knew the answer: "Friends, you haven't caught any fish, have you?"
c. Jesus addresses them as friends, He loves them and has come to restore them!
4. Jesus gives them a familiar incident to open their eyes to who He was, He asks them to cast their nets on the "right" side of the boat (the starboard side).
a. As they obey Jesus they suddenly find a huge catch of fish!
b. Funny, but this had happened before in their lives when they had listened to Jesus – yes -- it must be Him!
5. This opened up John's eyes first and he is the first to recognize that this was no ordinary man on shore, it had to be Jesus!
a. He turns and tells Peter this...
b. And Peter turns and puts on his clothes and jumps into the water!
c. Peter does not walk on water this time, he swims with his clothes on! It was considered a sacred thing to greet another person; this could not be done without being properly dressed!
6. Peter drops everything to get to Jesus, a new flash of hope of renewed desire to be right with Jesus bursts in his soul again!
a. On shore Jesus has already prepared a hot meal, a warm setting, and an opportunity for fellowship!
b. Jesus needs nothing, but He desires their fellowship!
B. Fellowship 21:10-14
1. Jesus invites them to bring some of the fish they had just caught, although He didn't need them -- perhaps He felt they needed to feel they could contribute something too!
a. Jesus is concerned about their way of seeing themselves, they saw only their failure, their defeat, He would now change this.
b. Like us, so many times when we fail it is hard to come close again to the Lord because we are overwhelmed by our failure!
ILLUS: ONE DAY A MAN WAS ASKED TO SPEAK TO A COMPANY OF BUSINESS MEN ABOUT THE DEPRESSION. HE TACKED UP A LARGE SHEET OF WHITE PAPER AND MADE A BLACK SPOT ON THE PAPER WITH HIS PENCIL. THEN TURNING TO THE CLASS HE ASKED, "WHAT DO YOU SEE?" ONE MAN REPLIED THAT HE SAW A "BLACK SPOT." EVERYONE ELSE IN THE CLASS LOOKED HARD, BUT THEY ALL ADMITTED TO THE SAME THING, THEY ONLY SAW A BLACK SPOT! WITH CALM AND DELIBERATE EMPHASIS THE MAN TEACHING THEN SAID, "YES, THERE IS A LITTLE BLACK SPOT, BUT NONE OF YOU SAW THE BIG WHITE SHEET OF PAPER! THAT'S MY SPEECH, NOW YOU CAN ALL GO HOME! THIS IS WHAT THEY HAD DONE TOO ... THEY SAW ONLY THEIR BLACK SPOT OF FAILURE, JESUS SAW THE WHOLE SHEET AND HE HAD COME TO REMOVE THE BLACK SPOT! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
2. We do this all the time, we miss the bigger picture for the smaller failures that consume our minds!
3. Jesus invites them to “come and dine!” To come and sit and break their fast, or to have breakfast with Him -- to enjoy fellowship with God!
a. What a statement: God still wants fellowship with us even when we fail Him!
b. He hands them bread and meat ... much the same way He had always done!
c. He desired to heal their hurt and restore their mission and thinking, and especially their relationship to Him!
d. He was concerned about them!
4. Jesus knew where to find them, how to get to them, how to heal them, how to encourage them!
III. DEDICATION AND FRIENDSHIP 21:15-23
A. Feeding 21:15-19a
1. Jesus is not only interested in them as a group, He also knew one of them needed some personal attention ... Peter!
a. Jesus begins with Peter by asking an odd and interesting question: "Simon, son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"
(1. This must have grabbed Peter's attention, first, because Jesus doesn't call him “Peter,” but calls him by his old name “Simon!”
(2. Second, it was Peter who had earlier claimed a superior love for Jesus than the other disciples, (see Mark Where Peter said that even if all the others deserted Jesus, he wouldn't, he claimed to love Him better than they did!)
(3. This was the point of Peter beginning to fail, and this is where Jesus would start to bring healing!
b. The point of all this was to deal with Peter's failure, not by ignoring it, but by dealing directly with it!
2. Peter is quick to respond that yes indeed He loves the Lord, for which Jesus then adds, "FEED my lambs."
a. Jesus responds by letting Peter know He wants him back in ministry, serving!
b. The call here was to "feed" the lambs ... in other words, give good food to the new born babes, the work of the Shepherd!
3. Jesus again asks a second time about Peter's love and again Peter, being grieved, says of course he loves the Lord!
a. Peter was now hurt that Jesus questioned him twice, Jesus wanted to get Peter to deal with his feelings and affirm his love an equal amount of times for the number of times he had denied Jesus, to heal each one of Peter's earlier denials, this was #2!
b. Jesus adds, "Take care of my sheep"… a reference to the older sheep in a fold, using the term "tend" or “take care” ... meaning to guide and even discipline ... again the work of a Shepherd!
4. A third time Jesus questions him about his love and the final denial is dealt with by a third affirmation by Peter. Jesus adds this time "feed my sheep," now including the entire fold, young and old and all between!
a. This was the work of ministry; Jesus had not given up on Peter!
b. The call to the cross was for Peter as well, and it is not going to be an easy cross to bear. It would take deep love for the Lord to endure the cross he would have to bear!
c. Being a follower of Jesus is not an easy task, it is not just another thing to do, and it is not a cheap cross!
ILLUS: A MAN WHO HAD PREACHED IN MEXICO ON THE STREETS RELATES HOW ONE DAY WHEN AN UNUSUAL THING HAPPENED WHEN HE ATTEMPTED TO PREACH. EVERY DAY HE NORMALLY WAS ABUSED BADLY WHILE HE ATTEMPTED TO PREACH JESUS ON THE STREETS, MANY TIMES BEING STONED BY THOSE WHO HEARD HIM! HOWEVER, HE NOTICED THAT ON CERTAIN RELIGIOUS DAYS OR FESTIVALS PEDDLERS WOULD GO UP AND DOWN THE STREETS YELLING, "CHEAP CROSSES, CHEAP CROSSES! WHO WILL BUY A CHEAP CROSS?" THEY DIDN'T MIND BUYING A CHEAP CROSS TO CELEBRATE FOR ONE DAY SOMETHING ABOUT GOD. THIS DIDN'T TAKE LOVE, JUST A DESIRE FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT THAT DAY, BUT TO PAY A HIGH PRICE WAS DIFFERENT, ONLY THOSE WHO TRULY LOVE CAN DO THAT! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
5. Jesus was both healing old wounds in Peter and also letting him know that ministry needed deep love!
a. Only Peter's deep love for Jesus could keep their friendship strong enough for Peter to make it in ministry.
b. This nice fellowship on the lakeshore was intended as more than just a time of friendship, it was also preparation and dedication to a job yet to be done!
B. Following 21:19b-23
1. Peter is doing well until now, he comes upon an old habit -- looking at others!
a. Jesus' last word to Peter mirrors the first words He spoke to Peter: “FOLLOW ME!”
b. Peter however turns and looks at John and asks what is going to happen to John!
c. Jesus has to remind Peter to quit worrying about John and to worry about Peter!
2. Again Jesus adds, "you must follow me!" … get your eyes off of what I am doing with John and keep them on me!
a. If Peter didn't, ministry would become impossible, he would be too prone to being either smug or disappointed with God if he kept his eyes on what God was doing with others and compared himself to them!
b. This has always been the downfall and struggle with many Christians ... we are suppose to be following Jesus and not others!
ILLUS: A BUNCH OF BOYS ONE DAY DECIDED TO BET WHO AMONG THEM COULD MAKE THE STRAIGHTEST PATH ACROSS A SNOWY FIELD THAT NOBODY HAD WALKED IN YET. AS THEY EACH SET OUT THEY DISCOVERED THAT ONLY ONE OF THEM HAD SUCCEEDED IN MAKING A PERFECTLY STRAIGHT LINE, ALL THE OTHERS HAD ZIGZAGGED ALL OVER THE PLACE. WHEN HIS FRIENDS ASKED H0W HE DID IT HE SAID, "I FOUND A DISTANT GOAL AND KEPT MY EYES FIXED ON IT, WHILE YOU GUYS ALL KEPT LOOKING AT EACH OTHER OR YOUR OWN FEET AND SO WENT ALL OVER!" – SOURCE UNKNOWN
3. Now they were all restored to fellowship, Peter's failures had been healed, new direction given, the right focus was in place, and the work of God took off!
4. All because a bunch of discouraged guys accepted an invitation from God to "COME AND DINE!"
a. Do you need to accept God's invitation to renew your fellowship?
b. Have you been refreshed by God's provisions?
c. Do you have clear insight into what He is calling you to do? IF NOT ... “COME AND DINE!”
CONCLUSION: This invitation by Jesus was to a group of disheartened and failing disciples! Jesus, knowing their need for restoration and encouragement reaches out to them and invites them to "COME AND DINE," to enjoy His fellowship and His provisions. This invitation is for the weary and the struggling disciple, for the one who is struggling with failures and can’t get past them. For those who come, they will find fellowship with God and healing! “COME AND DINE!”